From joining U-Report in high school I've now become a project manager!

Danielle is now managing the launch of U-Report's FunDoo digital life coach

Danielle Mullings
Danielle with the FunDoo focus group
Talk Up Yout/2023
Danielle (far right) at a recent FunDoo focus group session organised by Talk Up Yout and UNICEF. Also pictured is Talk Up Yout founder Emprezz Golding (fourth from left).
14 July 2023

Hi, I'm Danielle Mullings, a passionate advocate for the role of technology in youth development. I wanted to share my journey about how I went full-circle from U-Report Youth Council member to Project Manager of our exciting new life skills project, FunDoo. 

It started when UNICEF visited my high school, seeking student perspectives back in 2018, before they launched U-Report. At the time, I was the head girl of Campion College and I became captivated by the potential of U-Report to provide a platform to share the perspectives of youth, including my fellow students. Joining the UNICEF U-Report Youth Council I got to learn more about the project and participate in decision-making, such as helping to design the U-Matter mental health chatline which U-Report has since launched with the Ministry of Health and Wellness. 

Safer Internet Day 2020
Danielle Mullings from the U-Report Youth Council, Isheba Cornwall from the National Secondary Students’ Council (NSSC) pictured with host Terri-Karelle Reid at the 2020 Safer Internet Day Summit by Flow, held at Merl Grove High School in Kingston.

Developing a new digital life coach with U-Report 

Since graduating from the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona as class valedictorian, I have now embarked on a new chapter with UNICEF as the project manager for FunDoo, an innovative digital life skills coach more easily accessible through WhatsApp.  

My twin background as a software engineering student and former guild president has helped me not only understand the technical needs of the chatbot but also to prioritize having meaningful consultations with youth to understand the range of skills they would like FunDoo to offer. So far, we’ve made every effort to consult with diverse populations of youth to help design FunDoo. 

Danielle and UNICEF Representative, Olga Isaza at the FunDoo MoU with Project STAR
Project STAR
From left, UNICEF Representative, Olga Isaza and FunDoo Project Manager, Danielle Mullings, at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding agreement between Project STAR and UNICEF held at the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) in Kingston earlier in 2023.

Co-creating “FunDoo” with Jamaican youth 

Over 500 U-Reporters responded to our poll, and in collaboration with Talk Up Yout, our series of focus groups have welcomed more than 200 youth coming from west, east and central Jamaica, including students from the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf.  

We envision FunDoo to be a digital life coach available at your fingertips – that can drive positive change, helping young people along on their journey, learning skills including writing resumes and managing interpersonal relationships. 

WhatsApp-based ‘tasks’ teaching vital skills 

For Jamaica, we’re dedicated to designing FunDoo to meet the unique needs of young people. FunDoo was originally launched in India, and now more than 700,000 youth worldwide are using it. As we roll out FunDoo in Jamaica, we have engaged Jamaican youth to select our offering of bite-size courses known as “tasks” – both developing new tasks and customizing those from other countries. We will also be engaging with local influencers and experts to create new tasks that we’ll be calling masterclasses that meet the specific interests of our young people.  

FunDoo is more than a mere chatbot. It represents UNICEF's commitment to developing young minds. We strive to bridge the gap between technology and access – ensuring that every young person, regardless of their background, can access a safe and inclusive space to explore various topics and acquire essential life skills. FunDoo aims to level the playing field and unlock the full potential of young people. 

Danielle speaking at the first FunDoo focus group session
Talk Up Yout/2023

We envision FunDoo to be a digital life coach available at your fingertips – that can drive positive change, helping young people along on their journey, learning skills including writing resumes and managing interpersonal relationships. 

Accessible tech to bridge digital divide 

As we prepare for FunDoo's launch, I'm filled with anticipation. This project has been an extraordinary journey, allowing me to contribute to empowering young minds worldwide. It has further fuelled my dream of one day serving as the United Nations Envoy on Technology, advocating for the integration of technology in sustainable solutions for global challenges.  

Stay tuned for updates on FunDoo's launch. Together, let's embrace the transformative power of technology and create a brighter future. 

What’s UNICEF doing? 

Our 2021-22 Reimagine Education initiative consulted almost 600 high school students to gain their inputs for the national Education Transformation Commission. Among their recommendations were the need for more life skills and tech in the classroom. UNICEF Jamaica has also been supporting the Government to help more adolescents transition into training or employment. FunDoo, which combines tech and life skills, aims to help more adolescents make that transition.   

About this blog

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

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